Lieutenant James Vega opened his eyes and waited for the blur of sleep to fade. Another day on a planet he hated, another day of wondering why the hell they were here. Another day in a universe without Shepard.

He rolled over and stared through the window at the pale sky outside. They'd been here for over a year, way too long. He was a soldier, a damn good one and this was just wrong. Special forces soldiers weren't meant to be on guard duty, they were meant to be out using their skills on the battlefield. He felt like he was wasting away, losing his edge. He glanced up at the picture frame on his bedside table and raised his hand so it flicked on.

Commander Shepard, N7, Hero of Elysium and the Battle for the Citadel. She was his hero, someone to look up to, to follow. He'd been told he was obsessed with her, but why shouldn't he be. She stood for everything good about the human race, she was a warrior, a tactician, a soldier like him. Of course it didn't help that she was beautiful, sexy as hell and filled out her uniform like nobody had a right too.

He loved this photo, he'd been lucky enough to be on the docks on Arcuturus when she'd been disembarking from one of her missions. It was before the Normandy, before the Reapers but after Elysium. It was totally unexpected and he'd watched her with awe, stupidly open mouthed if he remembered. She'd glanced at him as she walked past and chuckled and he'd been too slow to even say hello. She was smaller than he imagined, petite but definitely shapely, lithe, athletic. But he hadn't been to slow to react when she turned and looked back when someone called to her.

He could remember that moment so clearly. Her eyes were alight with life and the smile on her face was amazing. He'd thought quick enough to capture the image on his omnitool, wishing that smile was for him, that her eyes would light up just thinking about him. He'd watched her walk away with another marine, their friendship was obvious and he was jealous. He never stood a chance, he understood that but that didn't stop him from dreaming, from making her the centre of his fantasies, for imagining her when he was with someone else as rare as that was.

He wanted to be the one running his hands over those perfectly shaped hips, cupping those pert breasts, kissing those luscious lips. He wanted her to be calling his name when he was inside her, hearing her moans as he showed her how much he longed for her.

'Shit Vega,' he cursed himself as he rolled onto his back, his body responding to his thoughts the only way it knew how.

He was a fool. She was gone, the Normandy destroyed in a senseless act by an unknown enemy. He wanted to be out there finding out who, taking revenge for the loss of his hero. But no, he was stuck on this backwater colony, supposedly defending it from mercs who wanted either the colonists or the pharmaceuticals they produced. Yet since the initial attack that brought them here there had been nothing.

'What would Shepard do?' He wondered if he was going slightly mad, talking to himself, fantasising about a dead woman.

She'd obey orders, do what was asked. Maybe want to relieve the tension, run her hands over his body, kiss him in places he'd only dreamed about, take him in her warm mouth before sheathing him inside her. He'd be calling her name as she rode him, as they both lost themselves in the moment.

'Fuck!' He felt his erection throbbing and dropped his hand beneath the sheets, taking his manhood in hand and feeling like a teenager who was about to get caught looking at porno magazines by his mother. Not here.

He slammed his feet to the floor and moved to the bathroom, thankful that as an officer he had his own facilities. He ran the shower hot, lathered soap on his hands and with one hand on the wall held his throbbing member and slowly pumped. He imagined his lips on hers, his hands gently pinching her nipples before finding their way between her thighs where she would be wet and eager for him. He could feel her hands running down his back, her fingernails gently scratching as her lips worked their way down his neck and chest. He pictured her kneeling before him, her tongue twirling around his tip, her lips enclosing him. She would moan as he pulled her up and lifted her, wrap her legs around him as he took her against the wall. He groaned as he thought of being completely buried in her, as she tightened around him taking him over the edge with her, milking him.

He felt his release, groaned as it mingled with the water from the shower and disappeared down the drain. Not for the first time did he feel a little guilty, a little dirty. He couldn't stop fantasising about her, wanting her, hoping that maybe one day …. but there was no chance of that now. He felt the tears as they burned his eyes. His heart had broken the day he heard the news, broken over someone he only dreamed about.

'Idiot,' he softly moaned, pulling himself together and scrubbing himself clean.

He dressed quickly, fighting to keep his thoughts under control. He prayed to every god in existence to help him forget someone he'd never met but couldn't stop thinking about. She haunted him and yet they'd never spoken a word. He couldn't understand why he felt like she was part of him, that she belonged with him. All he had were pictures and stories and yet it was as if he could feel her every time he looked at one. With a disgruntled sigh he made sure his Remember the Normandy patch was in place and headed for the mess.

'Hey, Vega,' Essex caught up to him as he hurried across the open space between buildings. 'Have you heard the news, seems Shepard's not so dead anymore.' He clapped him on the shoulder and rushed ahead of him for breakfast.

James stopped dead in his tracks. It wasn't possible. How? If it were true then the universe had suddenly become a brighter place and the future held possibilities. He changed his prayers, now he wanted it to be true, he wanted the chance to see her, even if only from a distance. He didn't dare think about what he really wanted or he'd need another shower. He started walking again, his step a little lighter, his heart a little less cracked. He needed to make sure but if it were true then there was a chance, however slight, that their paths might cross. Next time he wouldn't waste the opportunity, next time he would say hello.